Nzoia Sugar Company shuts down

One of the country's key sugar miller players is set to wind up business amid shortage of cane and the recent drought.

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The country’s second largest sugar miller is set to wind up business in the face of ongoing shortage of raw materials (sugarcane).

Nzoia Sugar Company has temporarily closed down due to lack of cane to crush as the poaching menace takes heavy toll on the Bungoma-based miller.

The closure now adds to the compounding troubles that have recently faced the miller which has not been operational for the last two weeks.

The firm has over time cited cane poaching by neighboring factories as their main undoing.

“The factory was affected by the continued poaching of its cane from contracted farmers by neighboring factories and the unfavorable weather that hit the country last year leading to the weathering of cane," said the firm’s communications manager Gilbert Awino.

The miller is waiting for cane from the company’s nucleus estate to ripen and for contracted farmers to deliver theirs.

The closure comes just days after President Uhuru promised a $2.8 million bail out to settle debts owed to farmers by the struggling miller.

Additionally, the company’s plant is yet undergo its annual maintenance due to lack of funds.

The plant will officially resume operations early August after the expected maturity of the cane.

Nzoia Sugar boasts the largest cane nucleus in the region, standing at about 3,000 hectares. Nzoia Sugar is the only working factory in the county besides Rai Paper, formerly Pan Paper factory in Webuye, whose stake holders are currently working to revive it after having collapsed in 1999.

Nzoia's situation is no different to troubled Mumias Sugar Company which was recently shut down indefinitely until further notice due to cash flow problems.

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